Yesterday Julia gave me the task of doing all her Barbies' hair. Julia chose their outfits (which basically means she matched up each doll with the outfit she came with originally) and I dressed and coiffed them all.
It's funny how things change. Julia takes care of her Barbies now, which is much different from her treatment of them in the past.
For one thing, if they had clothes on in the box, Julia took the clothes off pretty soon after we'd removed all the plastic and rubbery tie thingies. Her Barbies spent most of their time shivering with cold somewhere under Julia's bed or trapped beneath a pile of other toys.
They also suffered various forms of abuse. See the left-most Barbie? Wearing the purple bodysuit? She's actually one of two Fairy Barbies Julia has (you can see the other one seated way over on the right). Well, you can't see it in the above picture, but her hands are mangled beyond repair. Julia chewed on them. I don't know why. Neither does Julia. But for a time, Julia didn't want Purple Fairy Barbie because her hands were mangled. I sensed an opportunity there to promote love and understanding for ALL people (and Barbies) no matter how they looked or how they might be limited physically, so I told Julia she WOULD play with Purple Fairy Barbie no matter how her hands looked, because otherwise Purple Fairy Barbie would be very, very sad. It's not HER (Purple Fairy Barbie) fault her hands are all mangled, IS IT?
And so Julia learned that you cannot treat people (and Barbies) meanly just because someone has chewed on their hands.
Then, if you look over on the right, you can't help but notice that Ballerina Barbie has a very bright pink complexion. Overexertion? Bad (and strange) sunburn? Chemical burn? Embarrassment? No. Pink Highlighter. Julia's early experimentation with applying make-up, I'm guessing.
And in the back, there, in between Belle Barbie and Dorothy Barbie? I'm not sure which Disney princess she's supposed to be, if she's even part of that lineage, but anyway, the Barbie in the fuschia and orange gown has what appear to be some sort of brightly colored tribal markings on her face. Another victim of Julia's make-up-artist-gone-awry moments.
But that was then. Now, her Barbies usually go about their day with clothes on. Sometimes the clothes don't quite fit right – some Barbies are a bit more buxom than others, and the fitted dresses of their smaller-cupped sisters won't close in the back – but they always have something on somehow.
And lately it's also been all about the hair. So yesterday we scrounged up all sorts of elastics and scrunchies and whatever else you call them, and coordinated them all appropriately with each Barbie's ensemble.
Julia lined them all up along the couch when I'd finished braiding or ponytailing or whatever, and then I suggested we take a picture. Because…it just had to be done. So Julia sat at one end of the couch and I arranged her dolls all around, and I took the picture.
And that was that.
Oh, and one more thing – Purple Fairy Barbie? She no longer has her wings. Yeah. "Somehow"…they broke off. Daddy might be able to fix them. But maybe not. Still, we don't discriminate against wingless Fairy Barbies, either.
Not in this house.